South Africa Parliament Speaker Charged With 12 Counts of Corruption, Money Laundering

Former South African Parliament Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has been charged with 12 corruption charges and one count of money laundering.

Allegations against her involve purportedly accepting bribes in exchange for contract awards during her tenure as defense minister.

Following her surrender to a police station on Thursday morning, she appeared in court for the first time.

She denied any wrongdoing in court and said: “I do not have a propensity to commit crime.”

Prosecutor Bheki Manyathi asserted before the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court that there exists “ample evidence” against Ms. Mapisa-Nqakula. She has been granted bail following her appearance in court.

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After weeks of investigation, Ms. Mapisa-Nqakula resigned on Wednesday, clarifying that her resignation was not an acknowledgment of guilt but rather a response to the gravity of the probe that rendered her unable to fulfill her duties.

Last month, a special police unit conducted a raid on her Johannesburg residence in connection with the corruption investigation.

The 67-year-old, renowned for her involvement in the anti-apartheid struggle, assumed the role of speaker in 2021, following seven years as defense minister.

Last week, her legal team sought a court order to prevent her arrest, citing concerns over the infringement of her dignity.

However, on Tuesday, judges dismissed her application, deeming it non-urgent and speculative given that the arrest had not occurred yet.

Ms. Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly made numerous requests for money totaling $120,000 (£96,000) from a company owner to ensure the awarding of a tender for transporting army equipment back to South Africa from other parts of the continent, as reported by Business Day newspaper.

Her resignation coincides with the upcoming general election next month, a period anticipated to pose challenges for the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The party, in power since 1994, has confronted persistent accusations of corruption and mishandling of public funds, emerging as a significant focal point in the election discourse.

Source: BBC